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dave ramsey

Money

Don’t Get Fooled By A Phony Black Friday Deal

November 22, 2016

Black Friday in only a few short days away.

That might invoke love or hate in some households but in ours? We love it.

Growing up, Black Friday was an extension of an already awesome day – Thanksgiving. I remember having a second serving a pie while scanning the toy ads with my trusty permanent black marker. Of course I circled about $100,000 worth of toys knowing full well I’d only get 1-2 items but it was a lot of fun to dream. We’d hit our pillows that night knowing that in a few short hours we would hear mom and dad getting up to go sniff out and snag the best deals to be found.

When we got older, we actually got to join them in going out, hunting down the bargains, and meeting people in line at all hours of the night. It was super fun (and no I never saw anyone get run over or punched or anything you see on YouTube…because Nebraska). Jonathan and I have continued the tradition into our marriage and absolutely love being part of the action.

Ahhh. Black Friday. 🙂

Y’all know we are Dave Ramsey peeps. We are deal hounds who have a knack for sniffing out and snatching the best of the best prices available.

But aren’t all prices and items on Black Friday the best of the best?

No, my friend, they are not. And that is what I want to walk you through in this blog post. If you plan to shop this Black Friday, I want you to know you’re getting the best deal you possibly can.

Craigslist/Ebay

Wait, what? Why would I look for a used item on Black Friday when all these brand new items are deeply discounted?

Jonathan and I have found stellar deals on used items the day of Black Friday or the weekend following because so many people ran out and bought new items and now need to sell their used ones to make room. And when they already have the new item, they are much more willing to take lower offers just to get the old one out the door.

The year Josie was born, I was stocking my cloth diapers and I knew that Rumparooz Black Friday sale was 25% off brand new inventory. So I went on Craigslist and a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group and used that sale as leverage in my offer to buy barely used diapers for 50% off…when typically they would have sold for about 25% off.

And that’s how we do.

Do Your Homework

Is that 85 inch TV on sale for $139 actually worth it? This is where you have to put your detective hat on and do some sleuthing.

Black Friday is all about padding the bottom line for these stores. Some of their “deals” are actually duds, as you could walk in the store anytime of the year and buy the item at that price. (Totally happened to me once when I was a teenager…went back to The Nebraska Furniture Mart months later and my $19 DVD player was still $19. All that after I had stood in the cold for 3 hours to buy it.)

Market Watch LLC claims that 42% of the prices they are seeing on 2016 ads are the same as last year! So look at past Black Friday ads for insight. If it’s an Amazon item – check CamelCamelCamel to watch price comparisons.

Pay Attention to Quality

Sometimes stores will not specify the brand of the item being discounted – which matters in certain areas like a refrigerator or a computer and not so much on pajamas. While in your mind you know that a Black Friday LG washer and dryer set sell for $900 for a set, buying random-no-one-has-ever-heard-of-it brand set for $500 might seem like deep savings but if it’s nothing but junk that will break within a year, you should’ve just spend a little more for higher quality.

Read item reviews. Take the actual model number and input into Google and read all the reviews associated with the item. Or check out The SweetHome to read tested reviews on common household items. Sometimes stores use low end models (or even known brand models that didn’t sell well) to draw people in during Black Friday just to get rid of last year’s inventory. Be careful to make sure you aren’t buying a pig with lipstick.

Use Technology

Times are a changing and our smart-phone world has even crept its way into Black Friday. There are many apps you can use to ensure you’re getting a great deal even while out and about shopping.

Or hey, if crowds aren’t your thing, go ahead and Black Friday shop from the comfort of your own home online. Most of the deals these days are also available via the company’s website! One year I pounded the pavement all night long looking for a black peacoat in my price range. I got home in the wee hours of the morning, empty handed and exhausted as could be. I jumped online to Wilson’s Leather and what do you know? The perfect coat at way better prices that the brick and mortar stores I hit up.

Pay With Gift Cards

One last tip I’ve got for you is to buy discounted gift cards to shop with on Black Friday.

If you already know you are buying something at Sears, why not buy a gift card at 5%-15% off to maximize even more savings? We do this all the time with stores we regularly go to: Chipotle, Starbucks, Ebay, Target, Old Navy, you name it. Free money, people! And if you can combine a coupon on top of these Black Friday and gift card discounts? Even better!

I hope that helps you snag the best deals out there this Black Friday! Last and certainly not least – don’t Black Friday shop unless you have it in the budget. Any sale that makes you go deeper into debt and/or wasn’t planned for at your budget meeting isn’t a sale we’d recommend.

Adoption

Growing Our Family Piece by Piece: Day Five Update

September 28, 2016

Welcome back to our day five update for the adoption puzzle fundraiser!

We continue to be grateful for ALL the donations and support that has come in. You all can see that we have a LONG ways to go before our puzzle is done, which is slightly overwhelming. We plan to continue inviting you to join us through our puzzle but do want y’all to know we are working our tushes off doing additional things to scrimp, save, and make extra funds. 

  • We had an 5-year anniversary trip to Paris planned months ago that we cancelled last week and got a full refund on.
  • I’m writing a few eBooks and have taken on speaking opportunities this Fall.
  • Jonathan is planning to snag a seasonal job on nights and weekends between now and due date.
  • We have stripped all extras from our budget. If we don’t need it to survive, it doesn’t make the budget.
  • We are selling things in Craigslist and eBay. If it isn’t nailed down or breathing, its fair game.

In some ways we are back to gazelle mode from our early Dave Ramsey days. Back then getting out of debt was certainly a motivator…but bringing home our next child? WAY more motivating! 🙂

I share that for those people like me out there – those who might be tempted to think, “Well why should I donate to people that aren’t willing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and do some good ole hard work and cut back their lifestyle?” We are working real hard and fundraising is part of how we are taking these expenses seriously and planning to tackle them without debt.

So thank you to all who’ve partnered with us as we scrape, claw, and press our way towards meeting our financial goal. We want to specifically thank those of you who have SHARED about our puzzle on social media or sent it in a message to select friends and family.

Statistically it’s been shown that each social media share is likely to bring the campaign $37 on average. We obviously have a lot of shares to go for our goal to be met but every share counts. So if you’re willing to share, that would be helpful. I know, there are probably many of you like me out there who are not big posters or sharers on Facebook. If that’s you – perhaps think about who YOU would call if you were fundraising and then connect us privately with them.

What kind of progress did we make on Day Five?

  • 200 pieces sold

  • $5,005 raised!!!!

  • 13.35% of our goal of $37,500

Here’s a virtual picture of the puzzle’s progress – We can actually see the top of the text forming!!!!! 🙂

puzzle-day-05

 

If you would like to donate, please do so below. If you know of anyone who has a heart for adoption, please share our story and invite them to consider joining the journey.



Donate w/ Squarecash

THANK YOU!

Uncategorized

The January Budget Breakdown

January 9, 2016

Hahaha.

Apparently we don’t finish strong around our neck of the woods as our last two budget breakdown posts have been a week late. They’re the last ones and from here on out you can find a budget breakdown post for EVERY month of the year! 🙂

If you are only now joining us, in these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month so nothing can sneak up on your budget.

With that, let’s dive into our January post.

  •  Travel
    • Going home after the holidays
    • FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) annual conference travel
    • Weekend winter getaways
  • Fitness
    • Workout clothes
    • Gym membership
    • Fitness DVD’s
    • Supplements, vitamins, protein powder
  • Organizational Items
    • 2016 Planner
    • Storage bins to organize around the house/car
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
  • Car Maintenance
  • Life Insurance premiums

January is a quiet month as everyone typically keeps things simple after the holidays. It’s also a month of getting your New Year’s Resolutions going which you likely need to budget for. As usual some of the above expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or life insurance premiums.

Happy New Year! It’s never too late to start budgeting or change your spending habits so make this year one to remember by getting financially fit!

Marriage, Mission, Money

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s been an awesome year around True Good and Beautiful.

2015 brought exciting and new opportunities our way, such as guest posting for Dave Ramsey (!!!!) and Mama Needs Coffee among a few others. We also branched into some new content since we were parent newbies (still are, who am I kidding!?) at the start of the year. All in all I am happy to say we continued to blog after Josie’s arrival and I know 2016 will be an even more exciting year around these parts…more to come so stay tuned 😉

Without further ado, here are your favorite blog posts from the past year:

10. The Adoption Puzzle is Here

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received emails from couples wanting to make an adoption puzzle like ours to help offset adoption costs. Jonathan is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop for this very reason so our puzzle can be ordered in a much easier way! We never thought it would bless so many people! 🙂

9. 3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

Groceries continue to be the one category in our budget that we bump up against monthly. Following these three tips helps our family stay on track and not bust the budget.

8. How Motherhood Changed My Infertility

Praise you Jesus that I got to write a blog post like this…I thought I would never get to while we were battling infertility for years on end.

7. New Here? Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Our Dave Ramsey blog post brought nearly 25,000 people to the True Good and Beautiful blog in only a few short days! It was exciting and such an honor.

6. Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!

And oldie but a goodie! Here you can follow our debt-free journey on The Dave Ramsey Show and hear about how broke we were when we got married! Hahaha. Even on a low income we were able to obliterate debt…sometimes I look back and am shocked since I don’t think we could do that now.

5. My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

I am always glad to see this one in the top blog posts for the year. We write about a LOT of topics here on the blog but really infertility is probably the closest to my heart. I am thankful to provide a resource for couples to find quality infertility bloggers to help them in their journey. It’s how I stayed afloat in our battle and I’ll do anything to throw a lifesaver overboard to others in the same fight.

4. The Husband’s Guide to Breastfeeding

God. Bless. Jonathan. Seriously this past year I had some serious breastfeeding anxieties and he stepped up the plate in a big way. He truly had the heart of a servant and supported me every step of the way. I don’t think Josie and I would still be nursing at nearly 14 months if it wasn’t for him.

3. How and Why I Induced Lactation

Another one I have gotten LOTS of inquiries about from fellow adoptive Mommas. I am so glad that my breastfeeding journey has inspired others and given them confidence to try!

2. God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

Hands down my favorite blog post from this past year. We have a father who keeps his promises and I only wished I trusted him far more.

1. I Was About to Leave The Church and Then THIS Happened

Jonathan’s conversion story from his time in college. He was apathetic in his faith and God put a new fire in his heart through some quality friendships.

Happy New Year True Good and Beautiful family!

Tex112

Much Love from Jonathan, Amanda, Josephine, and Wrigley 🙂

Money

The November Budget Breakdown

October 29, 2015

Welcome back to the budget breakdown here at True Good and Beautiful!

An expensive time of the year is rapidly approaching and here in this post, we want to help you get your budget ready for what lies ahead. The holiday season is one of the best times of the year but without planning it can wreak havoc on any income level.

With that, let’s dive into November’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of November:

  • All Saints Day
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Saint costume(s)
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to break the bank if you are booking this late)
    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Fall Activities
    • Football games
    • Baseball games (World Series anyone?)
    • Football parties
  • Thanksgiving
    • FOOOOOOOOD!!
    • More food
    • Even more food
    • Family activities (football, movies, games)
    • Black Friday Shopping (Not-so-secretly our favorite day to shop for Christmas…gotta get them deals y’all!)
    • Cyber Monday Shopping (introverted version of Black Friday)
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (It’s coming faster than you can imagine!!!)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
    • We’ve got a special little lady turning ONE year old on November 10th!
  • Car Maintenance
    • Radiator blew up on the Jeep this week. When it rains in the car world it pours!

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or Christmas.

Happy budgeting y’all!

Money

Why Our Transmission Blowing Up Was The Best Thing That Could’ve Happened

October 6, 2015

There I was, minding my own business, driving along the highway on my way to noon Mass…

That’s when the our new-to-us 2007 Chrystler Town & Country van chose to die an abrupt and sudden death. I pulled off the side of the road to cry hysterically for a few minutes calmly collect myself and call my two Knights in Shinning Armor – Jonathan and my Father.

Minutes later, Jonathan was there to save the day and my dad (who’s a very trusted mechanic) was already calling shops in Denver to scout out the most reliable place to tow the van. Soon after, the van was towed away to the mechanic’s and we were on our way home.

The next morning, I got the call. The transmission needed rebuilding and it was going to cost $2,300.

Ouch.

Why, oh why would I say that this was the BEST thing that could’ve happened?

Because it reminded us just how important having a fully funded emergency fund truly is.

Obviously we saw its importance because we had enough money to actually pay the bill. But there was an even deeper reason…

A year ago we had a comfortable emergency fund of 6 months expenses. But then we had adoption bills come in that exceeded our puzzle fundraiser. We had no option but to dip into our emergency fund.

We should  have then refunded the emergency fund ASAP but we got a little lazy. We kept pushing it off, prioritizing other budget line items ahead.

However, right before the tranny blew up we almost made the biggest mistake of all. 

We’ve been planing on getting granite counter tops in our town home ever since we moved in a year and a half ago. Partly for our style, but mostly for resale value. I know it’s an improvement that will help us get the most equity out of our home purchase and will set our home a part in the crowd. So, we started interviewing different granite stores/contractors/fabricators in Denver for the granite we would get “someday.”

Through seeing all the options, we got really excited about the project. Instead of simply picking who we wanted to work with (like we thought) we decided that we wanted to go ahead with it.

Great, right?

No, because we didn’t have enough funds in the budget to cash flow the project. We waffled back and forth. We even had a conversation where Jonathan said, “What if a car dies and we have to take it to the shop?” to which I replied, “The chances of that are so slim, and we will rebuild the account before we need it anyway.” Despite all that deliberating, we ultimately decided to use part of the emergency fund on the granite.

Ruh Roh.

Now, if the Lord wanted us to hit rock bottom, we would have done the granite AND THEN the car would have broken down. Our emergency fund would REALLY have been in trouble if that was the case. But literally ten minutes after the granite company had taken measurements at our home, we got the mechanic’s phone call with the estimated bill.

Snapping back to reality, we then called and cancelled the granite plans. Almost as soon after we vowed to NEVER EVER use the emergency fund for anything non-emergency related. t’s just not worth it. You never know what could happen or when you will need those funds! We now know that all too well.

Someday we will call that granite company back and set up our install but it won’t be until we’ve built our fully funded emergency fund back up and we are able to cash flow the entire project.

Yet again, slow and steady wins the race, every time. 🙂